Wales vs Iran, live updates, news, scores, results, how to watch, England vs USA, Qatar vs Senegal, Netherlands vs Ecuador

All 32 World Cup competitors have played their first match in Qatar. Now the group stage heats up, with elimination well and truly on the line – as is qualification to the Round of 16.

And Friday night began with a stunning match as another Asian confederation nation pulled off an upset, with Iran beating Wales 2-0 in a rollercoaster match featuring the tournament’s first red card – for a truly wild challenge.

Hosts Qatar then failed to bounce back from their dismal opener, losing to reigning African champions Senegal, to all-but guarantee their elimination.

The Netherlands play the third match overnight, facing Ecuador in a battle for the top spot in Group A.

Finally, it’s a Group B blockbuster when England face USA at 6am AEDT, with England hoping for a win that would book their place in the knockout stages.

Follow FIFA World Cup Matchday 6 in our live blogs below, including Wales v Iran (9pm AEDT), Qatar v Senegal (12am AEDT), Netherlands v Ecuador (3am AEDT) and England v USA (6am AEDT).

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IRAN PULL OFF CRAZY WIN

Having been beaten 6-2 by England in their World Cup opener, Iran bounced back with a magnificent performance to beat Wales 2-0 in a rollercoaster match.

Iran spurned a golden opportunity in the first half when they had a goal ruled out for offside, before hitting the woodwork twice in 25 seconds in the second half.

The Middle East nation had dominated most of the match, but Wales grimly held on – until it all unraveled at the end.

Welsh goalkeeper Wayne Hennessy – who had made a brilliant save earlier in the match – raced out of his box and made a wild head-high tackle on Iran striker Mehdi Taremi, missing the ball completely and flattening his rival.

The referee – amazingly – only awarded a yellow card, but a VAR review quickly convinced him to change his mind and award the first send-off of the competition so far, in the 86th minute.

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Mehdi Taremi of IR Iran is fouled by Wayne Hennessey of Wales during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between Wales and IR Iran.
Mehdi Taremi of IR Iran is fouled by Wayne Hennessey of Wales during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between Wales and IR Iran.Source: Getty Images
Hennessey shown a red card by referee Mario Alberto Escobar Toca.Source: Getty Images
Iran’s forward #09 Mehdi Taremi receives medical treatment.Source: AFP

Iran, desperate to win, poured forwards at the death, before Rouzbeh Chesmi scored a staggering long-range strike in the 98th minute to break the deadlock. It was just his second international goal, and his first in four years.

Not to be outdone, Ramin Rezaeian scored on another counter-attack in the 101st minute – his first international goal in six years.

Carlos Queiroz’s Iran would have been eliminated from the tournament had they lost to Wales, who drew their opener with the US.

Now, it is Wales who are on the brink of an exit from the tournament, needing to beat England in their final match. Captain Gareth Bale became the nation’s most-capped player when he took to the field for the 110th time, but could not find the net.

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HOSTS ON THE BRINK OF HUMILATING EXIT

Host nation Qatar were pushed to the brink of an early elimination from their own World Cup after a 3-1 defeat to Senegal.

Goals either side of half-time from Boulaye Dia and Famara Diedhiou gave Senegal the lead before Qatar substitute Mohammed Muntari responded in the 78th minute to set up a dramatic finale.

Senegal substitute Bamba Dieng scored six minutes later to put the result beyond doubt and lift the African champions, who opened with a 2-0 loss to the Netherlands, right back into contention in Group A.

Defeat left bottom side Qatar sweating on results elsewhere if they are to avoid following South Africa in 2010 as only the second World Cup hosts to bow out after the first round.

Their elimination would be confirmed if Ecuador fails to beat the Netherlands later in the day, and would make Qatar the first World Cup hosts to go out after two games.

“Today we showed what we are able to do. We were competitive and we played well,” said Qatar manager Felix Sanchez.

“Obviously the result is key, but we showed a better performance. We have to get ready to play against the Netherlands.

“We know that it’s going to be an even tougher game against them.” Qatar had made a nervous start to the tournament in a 2-0 defeat to Ecuador and they again looked tentative against Senegal.

The Asian champions dropped their goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb to the bench after his shaky performance in the opener.

His replacement Meshaal Barsham did not inspire much confidence in the early stages, flapping at a corner as Senegal pushed for the opening goal.

Ismaila Sarr and Nampalys Mendy had already missed scoring chances for Senegal by then, and Idrissa Gana Gueye and Youssouf Sabaly squandered more than the first half wore on.

Qatar spent most of the opening 45 minutes on the back foot but a rare break forward saw Akram Afif incensed not to be awarded a penalty after he was bundled over by Sarr.

Senegal looked like they would head into half-time without managing to break down Qatar’s resistance, only for the hosts to give them a goal in the 41st minute.

Qatari defender Boualem Koukhi fluffed a clearance to leave Dia to pounce on the loose ball and fire it past Barsham.

Senegal doubled their lead almost immediately after the break when Diedhiou glanced home a header at the near post from a corner.

Qatar began to show much more attacking ambition from two goals down and Afif was involved in everything.

Almoez Ali forced a fingertip save out of Senegal goalkeeper Edouard Mendy before the Chelsea man again rescued the Africans from Ismail Mohamad’s effort.

Mendy was rooted to his line when Muntari pulled one back for Qatar, powerfully heading home Mohamad’s cross to haul the hosts back into it.

The goal lifted the crowd and sent Qatar surging forward in search of another, but Dieng nipped the revival in the bud in the 84th minute when he swept the ball home for Senegal’s third.

Abdelkarim Hassan then lashed a free-kick just wide of the post as Qatar tried to hit back but Senegal held firm to see out the win.

“We had a few chances and we managed to score a goal, but then at the end we didn’t have as many chances as we wanted,” said Sanchez.

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DUTCH MAKE MASSIVE TITLE STATEMENT

Louis van Gaal’s Dutch team could also go through from Group A with a win over Ecuador but would need hosts Qatar to draw with Senegal.

The Oranje edged to a 2-0 success against the African champions in their first outing with late goals from in-form youngster Cody Gakpo and Davy Klaassen.

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The Netherlands, three-time runners-up, are playing at the World Cup for the first time since finishing third under Van Gaal in 2014.

“We are here to become world champions,” Van Gaal said on the eve of the game.

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ENGLAND EYE ‘HISTORY’ … AND REVENGE

Gareth Southgate’s men kicked off their campaign with a 6-2 rout of Iran who took on Wales in Friday’s first Group B game.

Regardless of the result of that match, England would progress by beating the Americans, but will have to overcome a talented young side and the weight of history.

The USA knocked England out of the 1950 tournament with one of the biggest shocks in World Cups and in 2010 held a star-studded team to a 1-1 draw best remembered for a howler by English goalkeeper Rob Green.

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“Have we ever beaten the US at a World Cup? No. Tomorrow we have to try and make history,” Southgate told a pre-match press conference.

“We are good at talking highly of ourselves as a nation on very little evidence. We know we will face a very highly motivated team. I don’t think we will be underestimating the US at all.” England are still bidding for a first major tournament title in 56 years after losing last year’s European Championship final to Italy on penalties.

They were given a boost ahead of the USA game, though, as captain Harry Kane was fit despite taking a knock to his ankle against Iran.

According to reports in England, Gareth Southgate is set to name an unchanged team.

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